Is Facebook causing marriages to split?
Not for Dafina and Ahmad Ward. They've been Facebook friends since 2009 and say they take a very light, open approach to the social networking sight.
"It's not for me to vent about him and how he didn't do the dishes or didn't pick up the socks," Dafina Ward laughs. "And he's not going to go on there and talk about how I used his towel that morning!"
But the two say they have had serious conversations about the site.
"If there's anyone we even remotely dated at one point, I'm saying, ‘Such and such friended me today,'" Ahmad Ward says while patting his wife on the knee.
But not every couple is enjoying Facebook.
"There have been a number of couples who report that Facebook has been an issue and they're experiencing some significant stressors regarding that and how to address it and manage it," says Marriage and Family Counselor Tyana Alexander.
She's seen cases where Facebook has become a third party in the marriage. Sometimes it's one spouse spending too much time chatting while neglecting their partner in the process. For some, that can lead to jealousy, arguments and even divorce.
"A lot of spouses are fed up with it," says Attorney Eric Guster.
He says he sees the issue of Facebook affecting mainly younger couples age 45 and under. And of those seeking divorce, he says close to half cite the other spouse's involvement on Facebook as part of the problem. He says people use inbox messages and post pictures on Facebook, many times not realizing those things can be used as evidence in court.
"You can subpoena all inbox messages...all postings," Guster says. "And people should be cautious about what they put on there, because it's still saved although you delete that information. It's saved out there. So it can be subpoenaed."
Alexander says it is possible for married couples to have individual Facebook pages. But she advises them to have a conversation about it first.
"If I have my own account, is it okay if I have an old friend or lover from high school?" she suggests as a question to ask. "If I want to see someone or be friends with someone from a year ago, are you okay with that? And you can have these open lines of communication with your partner to decide what would be the best option for you two as a team."
The Wards agree.
"I think if you have that trust, it's not even just about Facebook," Dafina says. "Do you trust him when he leaves the house? When he's out with friends? When he's on the phone? And if you can't answer 'yes' to those questions, why would Facebook be any different?"
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